Monday, December 2, 2013

AKP official: Halki Seminary will remain closed until the mosque in Athens opened. -Turkey has been insistent on reciprocity on the issue

The Greek Orthodox Halki Seminary in Istanbul 
(Constantinople) will not be re-opened until the Fethiye Mosque in Athens is opened for prayers, a senior figue of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has said.

“Do not have a doubt, Turkey has not taken a step to re-open Halki Seminary and it will not take a step until Greece, who did not hold up the promise it gave in Lausanne, opens Fethiye Mosque in Athens,” Metin Külünk, deputy chair of the party’s Foreign Affairs and Istanbul deputy, said Dec. 1 in Germany’s Witten, where he attended a meeting held by Western Thrace Turks Solidarity Association.

The Greek minority in Turkey has been expecting the re-opening of the Greek Orthodox School in Istanbul’s Heybeliada since it was closed in 1971 by Turkey.

  • Külünk accused Turkey’s western neighbor Greece of being “a church state,” and said Turkey is not expecting understanding and justice from Greece.

Külünk said there are synagogues, churches and mosques standing upright side by side in many places in Istanbul like Balat, Üsküdar and Ortaköy neighborhoods.

  • The re-opening of the school has been postponed due to a lack of clarity over its status, as well as the principle of reciprocity with Greece, which has refused to allow so called "Turkish minorities" to elect their own religious officials.

Turkey has been insistent on reciprocity on the issue, said EU Minister Egemen Bağış in October that Turkey needs to be “encouraged” to reopen the Greek Orthodox Halki Seminary calling on Greece to keep its promise by opening a mosque in Athens.


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